In response to those of you who have asked how or why we utilize certain terms, Holly and I have created a quick glossary to better explain what we mean when we are writing descriptions. Hopefully, this will help keep both buyer and seller on the same page and we will do our very best to follow the content of this glossary with each and every description. We're also more than happy to add to the list of terms included in this group and we would welcome any questions or comments. Please let us know how we could improve this glossary and we'll make every attempt to respond to your constructive comments!
Pontil Chip or Pontil Flake: This term refers to a flake or chip that occurred at the time of manufacture, when the glassblower removed the pontil rod from the base of the bottle. We consider this defect to detract from value only when the flake extends to the edge of the base or if the chip is sizable enough to impact display.
Mint: We are of the opinion that a truly "mint" bottle not only has no chips, cracks or dings, but that it is also free of stain and case wear. We do not however, consider light content residue (unless distracting) or base wear as "damaging" in any way and bottles with these conditions may be described as "mint."
About Mint: Though we are wary of utilizing this language, the term "about mint" refers to any bottle with minor defects that do not significantly affect value. These defects may include (but are not restricted to) the following conditions: pinhead flakes, small pontil chips, onion-skin open bubbles, minor neck crazing, spotty and/or faint haze, minor wear or scuffing and potstone radiations less than 1/16" in length. Every attempt will be made to clarify the reasoning behind cataloguing an item as "about mint" and an exact explanation of ANY damage will be included in every description.
Crazing Lines: The lip finishing process often results in a small series of stress marks in the neck that we refer to as "crazing lines." This in-manufacture condition is quite prevalent in aqua pontil medicines and we consider "crazing lines" to detract from value only when they affect display.
Annealing Check: We utilize this terminology to describe any in-manufacture stress mark in the body of a bottle or flask. These small, straight "annealing checks" occurred during the cooling of the glass and they have no appreciable depth nor are they found with an associated "bruise."
Bruise: The term "bruise" refers to a rainbow-like area of damage that generally results from contact with another object. We use this language only to describe post-manufacture damage and the size and location of the bruise will always be included in the description.
Pinhead Flake: We utilize the term "pinhead" in a literal fashion - any flake larger than a pinhead (roughly 1/32 or greater) will be noted with an exact size and location.
Chip and Flake: Though these terms are often used interchangeably, we attempt qualify any area of damage greater than 3/8" as a "chip" and anything smaller as a "flake." Again, both terms will be used in conjunction with an exact indication of the size and location of the damage.
Burst Bubbles and Open Bubbles: Much of the beauty of early glass is attributable to air bubbles and as a result, we generally do not consider "open" or "burst" bubbles to be distracting if they are no greater than "onion-skin" in depth or located on the interior of the bubble. More significant burst bubbles will be described with reference to the size, depth and location of the defect.
Haze and Stain: Like the terms "chip" and "flake," the words "haze" and "stain" are often used interchangeably but we generally use "haze" to describe minor interior or exterior cloudiness that can be seen only upon close inspection and "stain" to refer to more serious discoloration. We are of the belief that "haze" can always be remedied by a professional tumble and that "stain" will sometimes respond to cleaning, but not always.
Scratching and Scuffing: We speak of "scuffing" when describing light rub marks with little depth and minimal distraction while "scratching" is generally more serious. Scratches will have measurable depth and they will be described using size and location.
Ground Wear: Many of today's "dug and cleaned" bottles have minor ground imperfections on the exterior surface that include scuff marks, pinhead mooning and light etching. These conditions are generally grouped together under the general heading of "ground wear" and this term will further be clarified by describing the wear as "light, moderate or heavy."
Etching: We use this term to describe stain that is embedded with the glass that will not be affected by a professional tumble. At times, cleaned bottles will have patches of "etching" on the interior that no longer appear "stained" though they are apparent upon close inspection.
Lightly Cleaned: With the advent of professional tumbling, many of the bottles on today's market have spent time in a cleaning tube. We use the term "lightly cleaned" to describe a bottle that has been tumbled for a short time without softening the embossing or appreciably altering the glass texture. Bottles that have been more rigorously tumbled will be referred to as "cleaned" and in every case, we will do our very best to indicate whether or not we believe a bottle to have been tumbled.
Potstone Radiations: Unmelted grains of sand appear in glass as "potstones" and during the annealing process, these stones often radiate from the stress of cooling at a slower rate than the glass. Any potstone radiation will be described with a reference to the size and location to the damage.